Susan ran almost 100 km a day for 51 days on a philosophical mission

It’s a daily routine enjoyed by thousands of runners across Australia.

They wake up, put on their trusty running shoes and, in the early morning light, they pound the pavement, blowing on the cobwebs before we wake up.

But for New Zealander-turned-Canberran Susan Marshall, that morning routine has become something extraordinary.

Susan was the first woman to finish the race.(Provided: Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team)

For the past two months, she has been in New York, participating in the world’s longest certified foot race, the Sri Chinmoy Self Transcendence 3,100-Mile Race.

Her days started at 6 a.m. in Queens, and each day she rode endless single-block circuits, less than a mile long, pushing until the circuit closed at midnight.

The next day she got up and started again.

Nearly 100 kilometers a day, every day for 51 days.

If you were to run one lap of the course a day, you would still be running 15 years later.

This week Susan is finally done.

After 3,100 miles, she was the first woman to cross the line, cementing her place in track and field history.

She had covered 1,000 kilometers more than Ned Brockmann’s legendary cross-country effort.

But why the hell would anyone do that?

“Become a better person”

A woman crosses a finish line under balloons reading 3100.
Susan says she entered the race for her spiritual aspect.(Provided: Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team)

For Susan, the physical challenge was not what drew her to racing, but what the challenge would mean mentally and spiritually.

She had begun following the teachings of race founder, race legend and spiritual leader Sri Chinmoy.

“The philosophy of surpassing oneself and using sport as a vehicle to learn more about ourselves,” she said.

“In reality, it’s just a way to become a better person, to become happy and to live life better.”

But even though the spiritual aspect was full of peace, there were still many other physical and logistical challenges to overcome.

Exhaustion, disease and cyclones

A running woman in a rain poncho and hat.
A major storm hit the town while Susan was running the marathon.(Provided: Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team)

The first days of the race were tough, before Susan said she had really found her rhythm.

Every day, 60 miles had to be “banked” to stay on target and on time.

“With such a long run, you warm up, your body adapts and gets stronger,” she said.

But there were times when going full throttle was not an option.

“We had a cyclone and the weather caught me off guard,” she said.

“But I really enjoyed those days because I had no choice but to walk and try to enjoy the experience.”

Despite the grueling nature of the event, there were no serious injuries, just some swelling and pain.

The experience has made Susan better appreciate what she is capable of, and she hopes it will inspire others.

“When people accomplish something, we also recognize that we have the potential too,” she said.

“These are things that will make the world more peaceful and more beautiful.”

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